It was a dry start to March, especially in the Scottish Highlands. Many rivers were relatively low for the time of year. However, as the month progressed there were some spells of heavy rain and this led to a number of lifts in water on many rivers in the area.
The Thurso River got off the mark in early March. The first fish was caught from Beat 3 and weighed seven pounds. This was quickly followed by a fish the following week. Through the middle part of the month, heavy rain led to high water levels. Indeed, for around a week the river did not drop below twenty-four inches. Towards the end of the month, water levels became more settled. Looking ahead usually, April sees more consistent sport on the river as the runs of spring salmon entering the river gradually increase. There is also more fishing pressure so hopefully, there will be a few more fish caught in the upcoming weeks.
On the Helmsdale River, it was an encouraging start to the month with a few nice fish grassed. Water levels were reasonable, and fish were caught from most beats. As the month progressed heavy rain led to unsettled water levels and this made fish hard to come by. In spite of this, the odd fish was landed. Towards the end of March water levels settled somewhat, and sport improved which was good to see. Other rivers in the area which produced fish in March included the Naver, Borgie and Oykel.
It was good to see the Ness system produce a few fish during the middle part of the month. The Dochfour Beat enjoyed some success with some nice springers landed. On the Moriston sport picked up and during the last week of the month, there was some good sport to be had with a number of nice springers landed.
Anglers on the River Spey had an encouraging start to the season. There were decent numbers of fish caught during the first half of the month. Water levels were quite low for the time of year but in spite of this beats like Wester Elchies, Delagyle and Kinnermony amongst other produced decent numbers of fish. Indeed, the Delagyle Beat produced a fish weighing in excess of thirty-five pounds which gave a terrific fight. During the first full week of the month, there was a lift in water and then again during the middle part of March. For a week river levels remained high with melting snow keeping water levels up. During the last week of the month water levels gradually dropped and fishing conditions improved dramatically. It was good to see beats quite far upstream in the system get a few fish. Beats like Kinchurdy, Castle Grant and the Grantown Angling Association all produced fish. This is quite early in the season for beats in this area of the river but a good sign. Traditionally April is a prime spring month on the Spey and hopefully there will be good numbers of fresh fish landed in the weeks ahead.
There were reasonable numbers of fish caught from the River Dee in March. After initially being low there was quite a number of lifts in water through the course of the month. During the final week of March water levels gradually dropped and fishing conditions improved. Throughout March the majority of fish were caught below Aboyne Bridge and mostly around the Banchory area. This is not unusual for this time of year. However, as the month progressed fish were caught further upstream which was good to see. Once water temperatures start to rise there should be more fish caught from the upper river.
Anglers on the River Tay enjoyed some good sport in March. Water levels rose at the beginning of the month and then again more substantially during the middle part of March. Towards the end of March, the Tay gradually dropped, and anglers enjoyed decent conditions.
It was good to see anglers fishing on Loch Tay have a productive month. There were a number of nice fish landed and it was clear that the number of fish entering the river and heading for Loch Tay was on the increase. The River Tummel also fished well with the Portnacraig Beat proving to be particularly productive. Loch Faskally also produced a nice early fish. On the main Tay, the upper river picked away producing the odd fish. There was some decent action on the middle river with beats like Dalmarnock, Newtyle and Glendelvine all producing fish on a consistent basis.
As we move through April catches in this area of the river should continue to improve. On the lower river, the Islamouth Beat enjoyed the best of the sport but beats like Cargill, Stobhall and Taymount amongst others all produced fish. April is usually the time of year when the runs of salmon heading for the River Tummel gradually gain momentum so hopefully there will be some good sport to be had for all.
It was good to see some nice fish being caught from the River Tweed in March. Water levels were settled at the start of the month but during mid-March, almost a week’s fishing was lost due to high water. Towards the end of the month, river levels gradually dropped and conditions improved. It was mostly the beats on the lower river which enjoyed the best of the sport. Hendersyde, Sprouston, Lower Birgham and Carham amongst others all produced some nice fish. Many of the fish caught were in excellent conditions and sea liced. As we move through April more fish should start to be caught from the middle river as well as the river as a whole. Hopefully, the weather will remain kind to anglers fishing the Tweed.
We are now entering into what is traditionally the prime time for spring salmon fishing on many of Scotland’s rivers. Given decent weather and water conditions, there will hopefully be good numbers of fish caught in the days and weeks ahead. With the weather slowly improving and the days getting longer there is no better time to chase that elusive spring salmon, so why not have a cast? There is no greater achievement in our sport than catching a fresh Scottish springer!